17 October 2015
FR3.5 Jerez: Jaafar ‘weighing up options’ for 2016
Not wanting to commit to a fourth FR3.5 campaign in 2016, Jaafar's hopes lie elsewhere. His future, he tells Crash.net , is still under consideration.
Jazeman Jaafar has admitted that his future with Petronas is in doubt as he considers his 2016 plans at the ninth round of the Formula Renault 3.5 championship from Jerez.
Jaafar, currently contesting his third consecutive FR3.5 campaign, is one of the most experienced and sought-after drivers on the grid. Not wanting to commit to a fourth 3.5 litre campaign in 2016, Jaafar's hopes lie elsewhere. His future, it appears, is still under consideration.
“I'm weighing up options, really,” he told Crash.net . “I'm looking at Formula 1, of course, but also weighing options in DTM and in Japan. It all depends on my sponsors, we will see where they think it is best to go but those are my three options.”
When asked whether his future remains in the hands of Petronas, he admitted that they may not play a heavy role in his plans next year. Petronas is a Malaysian oil and gas company which is perhaps best known as the title-partners of the Mercedes F1 works team.
“I don't know if Petronas will actually continue next year because of the oil prices but I am just waiting to see,” he concedes. “I've got a few offers, I'm going to take my time and see what's best but Petronas are happy with the season I've had.”
“I think the Monaco win helped a lot and we will see where it gets us.”
The Malaysian is in a battle with four other drivers - the DAMS duo of Dean Stoneman and Nyck de Vries, two-time race winner Egor Orudzhev and experienced Carlin driver Tom Dillmann - to claim third in the championship. On his way to a current seventh-placed in the standings, the series veteran has three podiums to his credit, including a win at the Monaco support race in May.
The Fortec Motorsport's driver, however, has been unable to maintain his form all season and sits 175 points behind his team mate, the 2015 champion Oliver Rowland. It is a year, he concedes in his own words, that has been a “roller-coaster”.
“The season has been full of highs and lows really, a bit of a rollercoaster,” he admitted at the Spanish circuit of Jerez. “The season started really strong with a win in Monaco and podiums in each race but went a bit downhill right after Austria.”
Jaafar puts these problems down to a change in set-up and a struggle with balance throughout the season. After finishing sixth in the first race, a 23 lap event won by team mate Oliver Rowland, the third place finish in the championship is still up for grabs.
“We've struggled with this each race but I think we are starting to get it now,” he continued. “I can still get third in the championship, it's not over until it's over.”
Prior to his turn in the 3.5 litre models, the Petronas-backed driver raced in FIA European F3 and the Macau Grand Prix and is experienced across single-seater racing.
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